A station to observe the upper ionosphere and to take soundings was established at Godley Head in 1949. It was managed by the Geophysical Observatory by the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research). Initially they were housed in the headquarters of the WW2 anti-aircraft camp.
Later a hut was erected on the foundations of a temporary military building. This was in turn replaced by a concrete block building, located near the pond and adjacent to the present carpark. The main purpose of the station was to gather data for the ionospheric predication of soundings for long distance high-frequency radio. Such systems were used for the military, broadcasting and civil aviation.
It was one of only twelve reference stations in the world and the only one in the South Pacific. The station was closed in 1980 and its operations shifted to Eyrewell. There is no evidence left of the Godley Head building or aerial. It was demolished and the site cleared after decommissioning. Army personnel based on the head at the time were firmly of the opinion that the DSIR work was related to monitoring the British atomic tests taking place then.
NIWA The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research maintains a station at Godley Head, which is located in the Regimental Headquarters building. The purpose of the station is to make and record accurate positional measures of the movement the earth.
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